Because of our geographical location, Cincinnati has hot, humid summers and cold, snowy winters. This means our HVAC systems work pretty much year-round, so anything that helps them run more efficiently is doubly beneficial. Checking and sealing ductwork can be a DIY project that can result in substantial utility savings for handy homeowners.
What Ducts Do
Homes with a furnace and/or central HVAC system use a network of ducts to move treated air to your living space from the equipment which heats or cools it. Almost always, both the furnace and the A/C use the same air handler, often called a blower, to move the treated air through the ducts.
Why Check the Ductwork?
The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Star program estimates that the typical forced air system loses approximately 20 percent of its treated air. It escapes through holes in the ducts and at unsound connection points. That translates directly into an increase in your utility bills, simply to enjoy the same level of comfort you’d get if the ducts didn’t leak. It may well be that your equipment never manages to create your ideal environment, no matter how hard it works.
DIY Duct Sealing
Here are the basic jobs you need to do:
- Visually check all ductwork that’s exposed in your loft, crawl spaces and garage and look for leak points. Pay particular attention to long, unsupported runs and to flattened areas, as ductwork is easy to accidentally crush. Joints are also failure points, so check behind all registers, and where separate runs of duct join one another.
- Use mastic sealant or metal tape to close all the leaks you find. Don’t use duct tape. It’s notorious for failing quickly.
- Insulate the installation once it’s been made sound.
Duct sealing is a rewarding job for any competent DIYer, but evaluating the installation is a job for the pros. Contact Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing for all of your HVAC and home comfort needs.
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